Pastor Hal

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Who Would Jesus Hit?

Most of us have seen the WWJD bracelets that were popular several years ago.  The guys I used to play hockey with when we lived in Montana got used to me saying, “WWJH,” who would Jesus hit?  I would say that to them because I wanted to convey to them the idea that if Jesus were on the ice he would hit people, and hit them hard and hit them cleanly, because it is part of the game.  I once heard a Christian football coach say, “If Jesus was on the field tonight he’d be the hardest hitter in the game.”  He was saying that to help his Christian high school football team understand that the best way they could be a witness to the opposing team was not to be wimpy but rather hitting hard and clean and then helping the opponent up.

 

There is a mindset that thinks, “Jesus wouldn’t hit anyone….” He certainly wouldn’t hit anyone out of anger or spite, but he would if he were playing hockey or football.  Here’s the big issue:  The scripture says to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Whatever activity we find ourselves doing we are to do so with all we have.  We shouldn’t hold back any effort in the ministries God has called us to.  I’ve been reading through Ecclesiastes these past few mornings and in Eccl. 9:10 the writer says, “Whatsoever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.”  I know that the level of our might changes with age but having a mighty mindset should mark a believer of any age.  Preachers should preach hard, musicians should sing and play hard, athletes should compete hard, and every believer should exercise their gifts with a go-for-it mentality.  Jesus is our model.  Heb. 12:1,2 tell us that Jesus endured the cross and scorned it’s shame.  That means He went hard at what God had planned for Him.

 

Who would Jesus hit?  How am I living my life?  Am I coasting or going hard at it?  The Lord Jesus is worthy of my best efforts at whatever He asks for me to do.  One of the mottos of my life is, “Go hard and go home,” meaning that I want to live life with intensity and then go to be with the Lord.  I hope you share the same perspective.

Death Rattle

 

If you’ve ever sat with someone as they are passing away you’ve probably heard what is referred to as the “death rattle.”  Hospice workers and others who deal with people in the dying process say that the death rattle is not uncomfortable for those generating it.  It is, however, a hard thing to listen to for those sitting with their ailing friend or family member. 

 

My mother passed away just a few days ago.  She didn’t experience the death rattle but I did.  It wasn’t my breathing that was rattled it was my entire life.  I didn’t have some second sense of a religious experience but a rattling of my faith, my convictions, and my perspective.  None of what I just mentioned was changed it was rattled, jostled, shaken up, and renewed.

 

One of the death rattles that took place was my attitude towards stuff.  A few days after mother passed away some great friends helped me clean out her apartment.  Aside from a few dollars, and a few pictures and knickknacks, the sum total of my mother’s material possessions headed to the land fill.  The only things that stayed with us are only valuable because they were mother’s things.  It isn’t so much what they are: it is who they are associated with, namely mother.  If you are tempted to think that your life is somehow valued by the abundance of your possessions, allow me to rattle that thought today:  Your life isn’t about possessions.  Jesus says so in Luke 12:15.

 

Another rattle I received was remembering the value of relationships.  My mother’s health had diminished because of small strokes.  One hand still worked.  When the caregivers she loved came in the room she would reach for them.  When I came in the room her hand would reach for me and when I sat by her bedside she held my hand.  In what seemed like the marathon of being with mom I had numerous people who came in to encourage me, pray with me and with mom as well, folks who would volunteer to sit with mom so I could stretch my legs………………..I don’t enjoy Barbara Streisand music but she sang a song called, “People Who Need People.”  Believers in Jesus Christ are wired by God to live in community.  We need to invest in relationships now because there is coming a time when God will desire to use us strategically in the lives of others and use others in our lives for His glory.  Ephesians 4 talks about how God wants to use each of us to build up each other.  Times of grief and mourning are one of those times when we need others and if we want strong relationships at that time then we need to prioritize relationships now.

 

A third rattle I received was the hope of the believer.  When suffering and death take place so many people offer so many platitudes.  I could retire if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard, “Oh she’s with Bob,” or “She’s in a better place,” or “now she’s your angel.”  Please know that I am grateful for the heart behind those sentiments, I really am.  What is the hope of the believer?  Is it reuniting with family?  Simply being in heaven?  Do we get to become an angel?  No………….  Our hope as believers is being united to Christ in the full measure of our redemption.  Our hope is that we will see Him as he is.  What makes heaven be heaven isn’t gold streets or pearly gates.  What makes heaven be heaven is the presence of Jesus.  Paul said in Philippians 1 that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

 

Mother is with the Lord!!  Oh how I rejoice in that certainty.  Having this last week of sitting with her and watching the dying process in her life gave me a bit of a death rattle.  I want to live for Christ and not for stuff.  I want to be Jesus to others and invest in their lives.  I want to be anxious to be with Christ and not just to go to heaven.  If my rattles have rattled you then I rejoice because all of us need to be rattled out of the routine at times.  May the Lord rattle us all for His glory.

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